What Does Love Look Like?
While growing up, the author Brennan Manning had a best friend called Ray. The two of them were reportedly inseparable; they went to school together, bought a car between them as teenagers, went on double-dates, and then, during the Korean War, they enlisted and, amazingly, were sent to the frontline together.
One night while sitting in the trenches, reminiscing about the old days in Brooklyn, a live grenade suddenly landed near them in the trench! Ray looked at Brennan, smiled, dropped the chocolate bar he had been eating and threw himself right onto the grenade. It exploded, killing Ray instantly, and Brennan’s life was saved.
Years later Brennan, went to visit Ray’s mother in Brooklyn. As they sat talking about Ray, Brennan asked her, “Do you think Ray loved me?” Ray’s mother got up off the couch, shook her finger in Brennan’s face and shouted in exasperation, “What more could he have done for you?”
Brennan spoke of how at that moment he experienced an epiphany. He pictured himself standing before the cross as Jesus was being crucified, wondering, Does God really love me? And Heaven’s resounding reply came, “What more could He have done for you?”
Nothing will transform your life more than that moment when the truth of God’s incredible, gracious, unconditional love for you makes the journey from your head – factual knowledge – to your heart, takes root there and begins to grow.
The Apostles Paul grasped the truth of God’s love, and longed for us to catch hold of it;
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
God Demonstrated His Love for Us Through Jesus’Death
“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Romans 8:32
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8
Nothing and No One Can Ever Separate Us From God’s Love.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s love for you is a rock solid foundation for your feet to stand on. His love for you is not threatened or undermined by any adversity you may face.
There will never be a scenario where God will not be with you, or where He is not in complete control – God is all knowing and all powerful and cannot be surprised or outwitted by ‘unforeseen circumstances’, so in Him you never need to make decisions based on fear of what you imagine could happen. You don’t need to try to calculate what to do in the ‘worst case scenario’, because with God there is no worst case scenario!
The story of Brennan Manning’s best friend is about the bonds of human love and friendship. If we were to scour the history books we’d probably find many stories like it. But no human love, however courageous or sacrificial, has ever or could ever, come close in comparison to the love God has for you and I.
God’s Love For You Cannot Be Diminished By Your Failures
God’s Love for you is unconditional and complete – He couldn’t possibly love you any less or any more, because He loves you with the full measure of His love and has adopted you as His own –Ephesians 1:4-8
When my children mess up, I don’t stop loving them. Nothing they could ever do would stop me from loving them. If I can love my children unconditionally with my imperfect, human love, how much more does our Father God love us, in His perfect love.
You may secretly feel that you’ve blown it one time too many for this to apply to you but I can assure you, you are not that powerful! As we saw in Romans 8, nothing means absolutely NOTHING, can separate you from His love.
If you have messed up, God’s love for you hasn’t altered, and He is just a prayer away:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
Psalm 103 8:13
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.”
Thank you Father God for your unfathomable, unchanging, unconditional, relentless, unfailing love, that will never let me go.
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